• Sale of Carlson's hotel brands could fetch about $2 billion
  • A buyer for the group may be chosen as soon as the first half

Accor SA, the biggest hotel operator in Europe, and Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. are among companies considering bids for Carlson’s hotel group, which includes the Radisson and Park Plaza brands, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group could fetch about $2 billion in a sale, and a buyer could be chosen as soon as the first half of the year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the process is private. No final decisions have been made about the sale, and the company is also considering other options for the asset, the people said.

Spokeswomen for Accor, HNA and Carlson declined to comment. Carlson owns a controlling stake in publicly traded Rezidor Hotel Group AB. Accor shares fell 1.6 percent to 39.50 euros at 11:07 a.m. in Paris. Rezidor Hotel Group shares rose 9.5 percent in Stockholm.

Paris-based Accor, which owns the Sofitel and Ibis brands, and HNA have been acquisitive in the hotel and travel industry in recent months. In December, Accor agreed to buy the owner of the upscale Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands for about $2.9 billion in shares and cash. Earlier in the year, Accor acquired hotel-reservation service Fastbooking.

Accor is also attracting interest from Chinese investors. Hotelier Jin Jiang International (Holdings) Co. had built up an almost 10 percent stake in Accor through Rubyrock Capital Co. as of last month, making it the French company’s largest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

HNA is the biggest shareholder in Spanish hotelier NH Hotel Group SA. It agreed to buy a stake in Brazilian airline Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras SA and acquired airport luggage handler Swissport International Ltd. from PAI Partners SAS for 2.73 billion Swiss francs ($2.74 billion) last year. HNA was also one of the bidders to buy London City Airport, losing out to a consortium led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.

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